How To Take Your House Flipping Education To The Next Level

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Last week, in my BiggerPockets podcast interview (which I thoroughly enjoyed doing), I mentioned something that I thought about for days after. The more I thought about it, the more profound it really was.

What was mentioned was that it is time for many people to step away from the computer and take their education to the next level. That’s accomplished by getting out into the real world and taking action.

It doesn’t have to be huge action. You might still be in the beginning stages of getting educated, so it obviously wouldn’t be wise to go out and buy a house without having a well thought out game plan.

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Too Many People Stay Where They Are Comfortable

The reality is that too many people stay right where they are because it is comfortable. You might find yourself wanting to learn, learn, learn, without any real guidance or ideas of what exactly needs to be learned.

Sometimes we have an idea, no matter how vague, of what we need to learn and set out to learn it. We read (most of us actually devour because we are so fired up to get into flipping houses) everything we can find on the subject matter on the internet, in books, in courses…and all places we are comfortable looking for the answers.

There’s not a problem with that. The problem lies in our constantly thinking we’ve learned something because we’ve read about it. We might learn it to some extent, but the retention of the ideas or at least some of the ideas is not even close to being good.

We learn what we think we need to learn and the next logical step is to use what we’ve learned. But NO, we couldn’t do that. That would be uncomfortable, at least to most of us. It much easier to just assume there is more to be learned on the subject or something else that we need to learn to make sure our education is well rounded.

It’s just easier to do that, but we’re not accomplishing what we really want to be accomplishing.

We want to become successful real estate investors, not just students.

Everybody has heard of the people who never seem to make up their mind on what they want to do and just continues to collect college degrees. They’re called “career students”.

I think when it comes to really making a go of this business, the majority of people actually become this “career student”.

I’m sure you’ve heard of (and maybe you’ve done it) people that have paid upwards of $20,000, even $50,000 on education to learn how to flip houses!

Maybe they feel that if they spend that kind of money it will make them work harder at it. But alas, it is just to allow them to stay in their comfort zone for even longer.

Here’s How To Fix The Problem

Step away from the computer.

Click the mouse a few times and hit the power button. Push your chair back and stand up. Walk away.

Get a snack and grab your keys. Get outside!

Yes, that place that everyone is saying kids don’t venture into anymore. That place where people are making things happen. Where people are hustling and taking massive action.

You might feel like an odd ball and that you don’t know what the heck you are doing, but I guarantee you that if you force yourself out there you will start to see everything come together.

Don’t worry, I’ll talk about where you should go shortly. Don’t want you just going to a bar or something. 🙂

There will be clarity.

Where To Go, What To Do

Find investors that are actively flipping houses. Take them to lunch. Enjoy their company and make sure they enjoy yours.

Please, whatever you do, DO NOT go begging successful investors to help you.

We are busy people and most of us don’t want to share our trade secrets. You have to build relationships and you don’t do that by asking people to give you stuff (whether that be advice, ideas, help, whatever).

The goal is to just befriend them.

The best way to get a serious investor to take notice and want to work with you, is to attract them. You attract them by showing that you are a hustler. You aren’t like the others that just stay behind their computer and want people to give them the keys to success without putting in the work.

And regardless of what so many will have you believe, there is a lot of work involved.

We tend to see and hear about success stories and just assume that it happened quickly. We don’t know about the hundreds and thousands of steps the people have taken to get to where they are.

Where To Find Successful, Local Investors and Other Things To Do

Finding and getting to know serious, active investors should be a top priority, but isn’t the only one as you venture out into the real world of house flipping.

Here are some other things you should do (and some are great places to find these serious investors):

  • Visit local Real Estate Investor Association meetings
  • Drive through different areas of town and look for rehabs (roll-off dumpsters are usually dead giveaways)
  • Try to determine which areas you want to invest in
  • Stop at rehabs and talk to the contractors, look at the work being done
  • Stop at rehabs and get contact information for the investor that owns the house
  • Go to the big box stores and make lists of expensive, yet nice materials to use for your flips
  • Make some calls to local real estate agents and find some that work with investors – take them to lunch
  • Talk to other investors and find out who they use to close their deals, go and talk with them (learn the process)
  • Talk to some hard money lenders and find out what terms they want
  • Schedule to go and look at some bank-owned foreclosures (try to see the ones in the worst shape)

Conclusion

Don’t become stuck behind the computer. Get outside and make connections. Get out there and discover your farm area and meet the people that will make up your team. Build to where you are getting actual things done instead of just learning things that will soon be forgotten because you aren’t implementing them.

One last note: Don’t let worry and fear stop you from getting out there. Don’t let your fear convince you that there is more to be learned first. You don’t have to know anything about the business to get out there and start talking to people and looking at houses.

Please share any other ideas of things you can do outdoors with regards to taking action and getting a real education. You can share them in the comments below. Every one left is much appreciated, not just by me, but everyone that is planning to do the right thing and head out there, into the wild.

Photo: Luigi Crespo

About Author

Danny Johnson (G+) is a real estate investor in San Antonio, TX. Visit his blog: Flipping Junkie - A House Flipping Blog to follow along with him as he shows, in detail, the marketing he is doing, the leads being generated, the lead and deal analysis, the rehabs and really, just about everything. He also provides real estate investor websites at LeadPropeller.com.

27 Comments

  1. Robert Setliff on

    Mr. Johnson,

    Thank you for the post and for your podcast contribution with bigger pockets. I hate to admit that I got bitten by the house flipping bug and did exactly what you advise against. I went in head first with no education. Luckily I was able to get the house very cheap, which has helped pay for my hard knocks education (and a little sweat equity). It seems like when you get comfortable with being in uncomfortable situations, it opens up alot of doors and opportunities and knowledge. People are scared to fail to be outside their comfort zone. I am an active duty Soldier and I have found it very difficult to get established in an area because of the constant moves and deployments. Will be heading to Hood at the end of the year and I am looking forward to getting back to Texas and learning the real estate market there. Good luck to you and your family. It is pretty cool that you have a passion that you can share with your wife and make a good living doing. That should be a motivating factor to anyone.

    • Thank you very much for sharing, Robert.

      That education from doing that deal is worth several months or years of focused study, in my opinion.

      You are right. There are several ways to fail. The biggest one to me is not even trying (which also includes ‘waiting for the right time’).

      Texas is the place to be. 🙂

      • Robert Setliff on

        Thanks Mr. Johnson. God Speed and God Bless Texas. I’m excited to be heading back to Texas and hopefully get a few more properties under my belt along with some much needed experience. I was thinking about getting another masters degree in business because I do not have a business background. Do you think it would be worth the time and effort? and do you have a business plan?

        Also, have you done any tax deed investing in Texas?

        • No tax deed investing.

          I think the degree is more of a personal decision. It’s not for me and I don’t feel it is necessary. But different strokes for different folks. I didn’t have a business background either. Just that the time for me is better spent pushing myself out of my comfort zone and following through with my ideas. That’s just more exciting to me.

  2. As a newbie, I’ve found it helpful to go to open houses in the areas where you do most of your work. It seems to be one of the best ways to see what level finish, what appliances, and what amenities are customary at the various price points.

  3. Steve Johnson on

    Lately, I’ve been caught up in the stage of letting fear control what I will and won’t do and its been frustrating. To combat this I’ve been picking up more reading, getting myself back into the seat of doing and exercising what I’ve learned. I’m still moving forward, what feels very slowly, but its what you call the thousand steps others have taken to get to what seems like the fast deal an investor did.

    • Great plan, Steve.

      It may seem a little slow in the beginning, but it will pick up pace as you gain experience and are willing to get further outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes, you just need to push yourself into the pool.

  4. Great insights as always, Danny, and an important topic the study/action ratio. I think the right formula varies for each person but there’s no doubt we can only accomplish our goals by stepping outside of our comfort zone and taking action.

    I envy the people who can get right out there unburdened by what they don’t know. As for myself I hid under the comfort of endless information for a long time before I could gather up the courage to start marketing.

    Thanks for your generous spirit

  5. Danny –

    Those are all great ideas.

    I had someone that emailed me just this week saying they wanted me to mentor them; they were just sick and tired of people always trying to charge them the “big bucks” just to learn. When I mentioned joining their REI, they went on to say that it just wasn’t convenient; it was too far to drive after work. And on and on; more excuses. This person wanted someone to hand him the “keys to the kingdom” for free.

    Folks – you have to be willing to invest in yourself either by giving your time or money to learn. It’s just not free to learn this business. If you pick up a book at the library there is no charge. But it is going to cost you your time and energy to read it, study the information and put those principles into place.

    Someone that has done the work will attract a mentor every time.

    Great job.
    Sharon

    • Hey Sharon.

      Guess there will always be people that just want it done for them. I feel that way when I take my car in to the shop. When they start describing problems, I just cut them off. I don’t care to hear it. Just fix it for me and I will pay them (of course this is with people I trust). Maybe this is the same. They have to have the burning desire to have the level of interest needed to do the work. I’m not really interested in becoming a mechanic.

    • Great point Sharon.
      I was having lunch the other day with an investor friend and I got to talking about a guy that I have been unofficially mentoring recently.
      He asked if I was charging him and I said no but it was cool because he was really DOING things with the information. I went on to tell him about how he must have told me about 20+ places he has been putting in offers on the last couple months as well as all the contractor and lender contacts he has been making.
      He is actually a Realtor and we first started talking since he seemed interested in getting trained in what to look for in listings to send me that he could then submit offers for me and relist the resales after rehab. He does send me some listings, but knowing how many things he offers on now I don’t really think I’m getting the best things he finds. 🙂

  6. Good article Dan. I did pick up on that in your Podcast which was excellent BTW. Too many people get stuck behind the computer. I haven’t met one person yet that is making millions even though you hear about “Automation”. Bring cash buyers and sellers together and make a large fee sitting at your desk. If you know anyone who bought these systems and is doing just that I would love to talk to them. I believe getting out there and doing just like you suggested is a great a way to make it happen. Like Sharon said as well there are no free tickets.
    People want you to mentor them but don’t want to put in the sweat equity. NO FREE Rides people but if you want to take me out for lunch I think it will be worth it. LOL.

  7. Danny,

    Great post as always! I actually joined BP because I was on your blog and saw the link. I think it’s really refreshing to hear you speak about getting up and getting out. I have recently taken this advice and I’m out in the world on a daily basis. I think your phenomenal Flipping Junkie step by step had a lot to do with it, as well as the advice and information I have been getting on BP. I am recommending the one two punch described above to all new investors I know! I made a commitment to myself to make this business work, grow, and flourish! I honestly think that because I am finally getting real-time, no punches pulled actionable advice, and not hyped up guru nonsense that says sit here and read and buyers and sellers will beg to give you their money! I promised I would update you on my progress Danny, and I take that very seriously, I think it helps to have made myself accountable to someone other than just myself! Thanks for all you do for us new little guys Danny!

    • Hi, Jason.

      That’s awesome! I can tell you are fired up and have the burning desire to take massive action. This is what is required to make. This is what 90% (or more) of people THINK they have but seldom do.

      You will face frustrations and possibly a slow beginning. Don’t let it stop you. Keep at it until you are a success.

      Thank you for the kind words.

      Danny

      • I actually went to look at a few peoperties here in the Palmer, MA area and I am making an offer today on a two family! I’m offering 35k, I’ll pay up to 40k it needs a good 20k per side in rehab (brought my best friend who’s a GC in to see it.) and some outside work. Been on the market for almost a year, REO.

        All in all I will be in for say 40k plus conservatively even call it another 60k (to include outdoor work) that puts me at 100k…Comps are in the 160-180 range so if I throw it back on the market at 150, I’m still walking away with 50g! I might wait the year and hold on and rent both sides…3 bed on one side (750+ a month), and 2 bed on the other (650+/-) so I have some cashflow in the mean time, then I can drop the capital gains tax down to 20% instead of 40%. Or I can just refi out and pay the loan off and keep the place cashflowing.

        I found a local mentor to work with me and he has agreed to bankroll my first 2 or three deals at a fairly steep interest rate (FINE BY ME! lol). I couldn’t have done that without getting out there every day and calling every number I found, and I stopped by some of those rehab jobs, and I asked questions, and I called people who had for rent signs in windows and on Craigslist.

        Bottom line is…These kind people here at BP and on the Flipping Junkie blog know this business! I am living proof, it does work. Make your desire burn hotter than your fear!

        • Jason that is great.
          Take action and make it happen!

          I’m surprised at some of those ARVs. I’m in MA and work mostly well east of you but I have done stuff more west. I’ve looked at multis mostly for cashflow but the ARVs usually were pretty low. What are the DOM for those places?
          Are these in Palmer or some other town? I have not looked much there specifically. The SFH prices seemed in line with the other towns I was looking at (my focus to flip) so I’d assume the multis would be similar too.

          Sorry for all the questions but I always like to pick the brain of locals when I see them on BP

        • “Make your desire burn hotter than your fear!”

          This line is great. I’m going to have to use that. 🙂

          Sounds like you found a winner. Please be sure to keep an eye on your holding costs though because they can add up and that 50k will not likely end up being 50k. Just keep an eye on them so that your decisions are more informed.

          Good luck with it. I’m excited for you.

  8. Not at all Scott, its nice to be getting questions instead of asking them , lol. I pulled great comps last three months and the comps I pulled are 2 bed each side. I have a 3 on one side 2 on the other. There are a few right now in the 85 range(listing price) right in Palmer. We aren’t inundated with investors yet, but I plan on changing that. Buy kow , repair, sell low and fast the money will come. Market rents in the area aren’t bad either for the holder…

    • Hey Jason,
      Certainly sounds like you have done your homework and have good information to go on.
      Good luck!
      If you can get some solid stable properties going out there you could have a lot of very interested cash flow investors in the East. As you get close to Boston you might be able to get 50-100% higher rent than that, but you also will pay 5x as much for the property and the rehab will cost more.

  9. Thanks Danny, I will rework my numbers. The holding costs should be minimal since we are using cash and my newfound mentor will be picking up the tab, but I will need to factor that in to the potential profit in the end. Always appreciate good advice Danny!

    Scott,
    I am in the process of doing some market research in Central Ma. I’ll be sure to keep my colleagues posted with any winners that I come across. I’m glad to know there is a network of folks who could benefit from an honest, diligent wholesaler. I’ll do my homework and let you know when I come across something tangible.

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